My Keyboard Will Be My Sword

I was fifteen when I downloaded the platform, Wattpad (which mostly focuses on the reading and writing of fanfiction), amusing myself in reading the same stories under different titles again and again. This entertained me for a while until my ego’s little voice continuously told me that I could write better than them.

So I did, while ironically following the same ‘popular trends’ (the usual good girl falls in love with a bad boy and gets rejected, but later falls for him again only for her love to get reciprocated this time as she underwent a makeover and was now the most desirable girl to ever walk the ground ) as the other books, as I was more concerned with views and votes, as they would boost my story to the What’s Hot category which meant even more views and the cycle would continue to repeat itself. My story started out great, within months I had over fifty thousand views, but something soon disturbed me. As I read through my book again, I realized that I was encouraging the forgiveness of abusive behaviour and the demonization of women who looked a certain way (which was deemed ‘the mean girl look’) for others to justify the projections of their own insecurities on others. This was not at all what I believed in, and yet here I was, normalizing this behaviour to my demographic of young girls.

I didn’t want them to romanticize such behaviour and think that that is what makes up a healthy relationship or that it was okay to stereotype others just because of their looks. Thus, I decided then and there that this was enough, I was going to continue this so-called ‘popular storyline’, but I was going to deconstruct it and rebuild it so as to weave in the morals and principles that I felt were right. I took a leap of courage and deleted my first book and started anew. this new book was like a breath of fresh air to me, it became my mouthpiece to the world of what I believed in as I wove in my views on mental health, gender stereotypes as well as bits and pieces of my own culture.

My focus was no longer on the number of views my story had, it was to grow and nurture my new baby to hopefully, in turn, nurture the views of young girls of the world. Ironically, it was when I was not looking for fame and glory did I actually get it. My new book grew bigger than I could have ever imagined with over a million reads and won many user-organised contests. I began to receive a lot of feedback, many thanking me for my new take on certain issues such as the representation of a female lead as well as the idea of a more emotional male lead. This earned me an offer to sell my rights (which I declined) and an invitation to write on Inkitt (which I accepted). This made me restless and hungry to test the limits of my new-found creativity, so I did. I took up the herculean task of creating my own world, language and races.

It was extremely tough coming up with a new language (which eventually did to a certain extent by combining the languages from both sides of my family, hainanese and malayalam). While this book has not done as well as the rest of my books, it has made me so happy to have an outlet to release all my creative juices where no idea is too outlandish or weird as this world is mine, and thus whatever I say goes. It has helped me through the rough times in my life, offering me an escape for a while when things get too tough.

It gave me the ability to write about the mistakes that I had made in my life, the consequences they had as well as the lessons which I learnt from them, so that others who might be suffering just as I had could find a certain level of solace in their time of need. This whole incident has taught me the power of creativity, that it could help voice your views and opinions to a massive scale as long as you have the courage to break away from the norm and stretch your gray matter slightly. It changed my whole perspective on the word ‘imagination’ which I once thought was just something for little children, instead of a tool for self-growth. It has helped me come to terms with my own issues and flaws, and has helped me overcome them to better myself as an individual.

 

Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.

Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.

We have grown since then, putting out bimonthly issues (we are contributor powered: apply to write for our next one!), and weekly reviews of culture, and news that is important to us.

You can find announcements, more news, and get to know our staff on social media: give us a follow, and learn how you can get involved today!

We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.

We hope you’ll join us.

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